Published: March 1, 2015
By Shauli Bar-On
Many high schools around the nation have annual Middle College presentations for sophomores and juniors. These presentations never cover all the questions students tend to have about the program and they fail to describe the typical Middle College Student.
All students should know that Middle College is not for everyone. Middle College is not necessarily for those who are excelling in school. The program is not comprised of “easy AP courses” and has drawbacks as well.
The Middle College program is a great program for students who are not entirely happy with their current high school or for those who want to experience something new. Happiness in high school can be based on how effective teachers are, the competitiveness nature of certain schools, and how well a student is excelling socially.
On the other hand, if a student is entirely content with high school life, classes, teachers, and friends, there is no reason for them to leave. It may seem suspicious to colleges if a student leaves high school and takes classes that are offered in their high school. It may be a sign of laziness, that the student does not want to take the advanced placement classes in high school. Unless the reason is justified by social problems, students should not attend Middle College and take classes that are offered in their high school.
If classes, however, are the problem and students wish to take classes not offered in their high school, there are other options besides Middle College as well. Students can take some of their elective classes at a local community college and the rest at their high school. This method is known as taking hybrid classes.
Moreover, if a student’s interests lie in liberal arts, history, and English, Middle College is generally not the best option to take in their junior year of high school. The classes in Middle Colleges are not all college classes – English and History classes are taught by a high school teacher in a group of Middle College students only. This means that these classes are not AP/honors level classes and students cannot take any advanced classes in the subject of their interest.
Furthermore, while the Middle College program does allow students to participate in after school sports and dances, it is very difficult for students to participate in school clubs such as speech and debate, electronics club, programing club, and countless other activities that do not take place after school. Since participating in school clubs generally involves attending lunch meetings and working with other schoolmates, it is very hard to do so when a student is off the high school campus all day.
There is no ideal Middle College student, but the certain elements that indicate whether a student should enroll in Middle College can be narrowed down to those who do not enjoy their school’s social life, those who wish to experience college campuses before high school, those who are not active participants in school clubs, and those who wish to avoid taking advanced English and history classes.